Jan. 15, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Nine members of the program along with the coaching staff are set to travel to Dallas this weekend to represent Purdue men's swimming and diving at the 30th annual six-team Classic @ SMU, a two-night meet featuring one of the most unique formats in the country.
Action is set for 8:30 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday evening at SMU's Perkins Natatorium, which features a six-lane competition pool. Along with Purdue and SMU, Florida, Louisville, Michigan and USC will also have nine competitors - eight swimmers and one diver - in attendance this weekend. It's the same six-team field as a year ago when USC edged out Michigan by three points in the team scoring after winning the 18th and final event (the 200 free relay).
In the latest CSCAA Top 25 rankings (Dec. 12), Michigan (No. 1), Florida (No. 3), USC (No. 6) and Louisville (No. 8) were all Top 10 teams. Purdue went head-to-head against Michigan at home last weekend.
The Boilermakers will be represented by Diver Alec Back and swimmers Guillermo Blanco, Filip Bujoczek, Danny Conway, Lyam Dias, Austin Flager, Matt Friede, Stephen Seliskar and Danny Tucker. Purdue will be competing at the Classic @ SMU for the fourth year in a row. Friede will be making his fourth appearance at the competitive meet, which features some of the top swimmers from around the country. Back, Conway, Dias and Tucker will all be making the trip to Dallas for the second time, meaning five of the nine Boilers traveling this weekend have experience at the meet. Bujoczek and Flager made the elite travel squad as freshmen, joining current teammates Jan Karel Petric, Back, Conway and Friede as first-year Boilers to travel to Dallas the last few years.
Seven individual events and two relays are held each night. Each of the six teams enter two swimmers per event, one to race in the championship A final and one to race in the consolation B final. The divers compete from the 1-meter springboard Friday and the 3-meter Saturday. Each school is represented by one diver and one foursome per relay event. Relays are the top-scoring events of the weekend. Coaches are required to enter their top performers in the A finals and the sixth-place finisher in the A Final earns more team points than the winner of the B final. Swimmers may compete in three events per day, but one of the events must be a relay.
The unique six-lane pool at Perkins Natatorium matches up perfectly with the six-team format, allowing each race to feature a full field of swimmers. The smaller surroundings extend to the spectator areas, putting fans and competitors all close together. Dias, Friede and Purdue head coach Dan Ross all agreed that the unique setup adds to the energy and ambiance of a very competitive meet.
The Boilermakers competed at Michigan State's six-lane McCaffree Pool last year. Friede and Tucker helped Purdue establish a new pool record in the 400 freestyle relay. Tucker also established a new individual pool benchmark in the 100 free.
Victories by Nate Cox (2013 1-meter diving) and Albert Miller (2012 100 breaststroke) have highlighted the Boilers' trips to Dallas in recent seasons. Matt Stewart (500 free) and Friede (50 free) also won consolation finals in 2011. Back was the runner-up from the 3-meter springboard in 2012.
The members of the team not traveling this weekend will remain on campus and continue preparing for the Big Ten Triple Duals, a two-day meet set for Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center where Purdue will host Minnesota and Wisconsin.